Take a Bow, Galway Arts Festival 2012

Oh, what a brilliant few weeks it has been. On behalf of all the GAF 2012 team, thank you so very much for your enduring support. Not only has it been another incredibly successful year, we have broken records for attendance across the board. A staggering 30,000 people turned out to see the fantastic Absolut Festival Gallery and a truly phenomenal 160,000 people attended the festival over two weeks. What can we say only a huge and heartfelt thanks. What an inspiration it is to see that despite everything – or perhaps because of it – a real love of the arts still exists in this country.

Over the course of the festival, various teams have been working away to ensure that events and experiences were captured for everyone to enjoy, now and always. GAF TV have been working especially hard, the fruits of which you can check out on their YouTube channel here, where you can enjoy highlights from this year’s festival, like this wonderful look at Macnas’s This Thunderous Heart:

While the two weeks in July when the festival takes place are GAF’s primary focus, work on the festival takes place all year round. For breaking news, exclusive content and to keep in the loop about next year’s preparations, not to mention enjoying the fruits of festivals past including this year’s, be sure to check out our website http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/, our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/galwayartsfestival and our Twitter feed https://twitter.com/galwayartsfest/ Over the next few days, we’ll be posting highlights of 2012, which you won’t want to miss.

All that remains is for us to say one final word of thanks to the people of Galway, all our sponsors, our fantastic performers, our volunteers and all of you who supported GAF 2012 in your thousands. Here’s to a record breaking 2013. We’ll leave you with a few exclusive images from this year’s magnificent festival, taken by Colm Hogan. Until next time.

Macnas turn the streets of Galway into a wonderland with This Thunderous Heart.

Artistic Director Paul Fahy basks in the fantastic setting of the Absolut Festival Gallery, which welcomed an amazing 30,000 people through its doors during the 2 weeks of the festival.

Spain’s Kamchatka perform their unique brand of street theatre for delighted on-lookers during GAF 2012.

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Not Over Yet: Sam Amidon at Galway Arts Festival

It is hard to believe after all the energy and triumphs of the past few weeks that Sunday, July 29th is finally here but while the end maybe near GAF 2012 is a long way from winding down. Tonight, folk star Sam Amidon plays the Róisín Dubh at 9.30pm. Sam’s live shows are very special events, mixing video, stories and reworkings of old and not so old music to create a unique audio visual experience. The Guardian has described Sam’s performances as ‘startling, moving stuff’, so don’t waste your Sunday night, get down to the Róisín Dubh. Sam’s support acts come in the shape of Dublin’s Spook of the Thirteenth Lock whose critically acclaimed album The Brutal Here and Now was released last April, plus RM Hubbert. For more info, check out: http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

Sam’s brand of folk is the perfect accompaniment to your Sunday morning coffee, so why not take a moment to savour his track, Saro:

 

Let’s Dance: Kormac’s Big Band at GAF 2012

Tonight DJ Kormac and his Big Band take to the stage in the Róisín Dubh for what promises to be the perfect way to spend your Saturday night. The Big Band comprises of a barbershop quartet, drums, double base, trombone, clarinet, trumpet and banjo, with Kormac acting as conductor, possibly the only conductor you’re ever likely to see scratching records while he works. The results are energetic, fun and an unforgettable live experience, so polish up your dancing shoes and let the good times roll. Kormac’s Big Band kick off at 10.30pm in the Róisín Dubh tonight – write it down folks! In the meantime for your viewing pleasure, here is a GAF  TV look at Kormac and the band:

GAF Classical: T’ang Quartet

Fans of classical music are in for a treat this Saturday, July 28th, when T’ang Quartet play Saint Nicholas’s Church. Formed in 1992 , T’ang Quartet are Ang Chek Meng, Ng Yu-Ying, Leslie Tan and Lionel Tan. The quartet takes its name from both its founding members but also the Tang Dynasty, referencing the era’s golden age of artistic expression.

The T’ang Quartet blend Eastern and Western influences, reinterpreting classic works for the modern age. Their show Comedy and Tragedy combines film and music, including the Buster Keaton classic Haunted House,which the quartet will accompany. The programme also includes Aulis Sallinen’s Some Aspects of Peltoniemi Hintrik’s Funeral March and the Chinese composer Bright Sheng’s String Quartet No.3.

Classical fans will not want to miss this one. For tickets and more info, check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/ If you fancy a quick break at your desk, here is a clip of the T’ang Quartet in action. Prepare to be mesmerized:

GAF 2012: Keywest in Monroes on July 28th

Live music has always been a key part of the Galway Arts Festival line up and this year is no different. Next Saturday, 28th July, Dublin band Keywest play Monroes. After forming in a shed in Artane just a few years ago, the lads have completed the critically acclaimed album The Message, played on national TV and radio and on stage for the likes of Oxegen and Arthur’s Day, plus they were nominated for a 2010 Meteor Award for Most Promising Act. Fans of rocky pop will not want to miss this one nor should anyone who likes good live tunes with their pint. We’ve got a few clips of the Keywest lads in action below and don’t forget to check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/ for more info.

She’s the One: Lisa Hannigan Plays the Big Top

Lisa Hannigan plays the festival Big Top on Thursday, July 26th with James Vincent McMorrow and Elaine Mai.

Lisa Hannigan has come a long way from the shy, beguiling girl who lent her stunning vocals to the Damien Rice’s juggernaut album, O. Lisa took her time before stepping into the spotlight solo, quietly honing her craft away from the media glare. A few years later, her caution paid off in spectacular fashion. Her debut album Sea Sew was a critical and commercial success, turning Lisa into one of the biggest artists in Irish contemporary music. Similar success followed with her second album Passenger, which spawned the feel good hits What’ll I Do? and Knots.

Lisa has been nominated for the Choice and Mercury music awards and has played to rapturous reviews everywhere from the UK to the US. We are very proud of her. Lisa recently supported the Frames in LA and will be touring with former Pulp member Richard Hawley, who she memorably sang with during RTÉ’s Other Voices series, covering Hushabye Mountain to spine-tingling effect. Lisa is known for playing intimate gigs but as her fan base has grown, so has her confidence as a performer so seeing her take to Big Top stage after her incredible successes to date will be something very, very special indeed.

Lisa will play the Big Top on July 26th, along with James Vincent McMorrow, another Irish musician creating major waves plus up-and-coming Galway girl Elaine Mai, who is hotly tipped for great things. This is a powerhouse of a line-up and tickets, unsurprising, are selling fast. To get yours and for more info on all things GAF related, check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/ right now.

We’ll leave you with a few of Lisa’s best bits, of which there are so many it made choosing three almost impossible…

Food for Thought : GAF 2012’s Trad Lunchtimes

Making time to treat yourself and get away from it all is difficult in this twenty four seven world of ours, especially during the working day when most people eat lunch at their desk if they eat it at all. Isn’t it about time you stepped away from the computer and made the most of your down time? We certainly think so.

Here at GAF 2012, we have an excellent way for you to unwind during your lunch hour: treat yourself to a Trad Lunchtime in Monroes (they have incredible pizza there too, so if you’re feeling peckish…). It’s scientific fact that good tunes help us relax and improve our mood, so you’ll be skipping rather than trudging back to work. For those of you lucky enough to be heading off to sample more of the amazing GAF 2012 lineup after your lunchtime session, we say ‘enjoy!’

Here’s what you can expect from Trad Lunchtimes this week:

Thursday 26th July, David Munnelly and John Kilkenny    

Mayo natives David and John duel it out on the box and the fiddle, trad style. David has travelled all over the world playing music, most notably with the Chieftains. He and John are sure to add a musical highlight to your Thursday afternoon, so order a coffee and soak up the tunes.

Friday 27th July, Verena Cummins, Julie Langan and Padraig O’Brian

Fiddle, accordion and guitar combine to make a special lunchtime gig. Verena is well known for her skilful accordion playing. She and Julie (on the fiddle) have recorded together in the past, which makes this one time reunion all the more exciting. Padraig joins Verena and Julie on guitar.

Saturday 28th July, Tara Connaghan and Derek McGinley

Donegal’s finest Tara and Derek bring the music of their beautiful native county to life. Both are accomplished fiddle players, so you can order a side of great tunes to go with your sandwiches and tea. Perfect.

For more info on Trad Lunchtimes and for ticket purchases, check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/GA to avoid disappointment.

Where to Begin? Highlights of GAF 2012’s Week One…

Writing in the Irish Times on Thursday, Laurence Mackin said of this year’s festival offerings, ‘An embarrassment of riches, but what else did you expect from the GAF?’ What else indeed. This year’s incredible line up keeps rolling on – check http://galwayartsfestival.com/ lest you miss out – but here on the GAF blog, we’re going to take a moment to appreciate what has been a magnificent opening week for GAF 2012. In no particular order, here are a few of the many highlights…

Chic

Oh, what a night it was in the Big Top on Thursday, when Nile Rodgers and Chic turned the Galway into a 21st century Studio 54. Rapturous cries of recognition from the crowd filled the starry night air as the hits kept coming from David Bowie to Madonna to glorious days of disco. You had to ask yourself, ‘is there anything Nile Rodgers hasn’t produced/written?!’ Even the sun showed up for proceedings. Before the gig, the legendary Mr. Rodgers tweeted to say, ‘Galway is FANTASTIC.’ It’s fair to surmise that the admiration was very much reciprocated, with many revelers declaring Chic to have been the gig of the year.

John Mahoney and Rondi Reed give an acting tour de force in the deeply moving The Outgoing Tide.

The Outgoing Tide

Bruce Graham’s The Outgoing Tide opened in the Town Hall Theatre to rave reviews and standing ovations. Starring John Mahoney and Rondi Reed, stage veterans and actors of immense talent and skill, the play moved audiences to tears. If art is an expression of what it is to be human, then The Outgoing Tide invites us to consider what we would want for ourselves and our loved ones as we and they move ever closer to the twilight of our lives. Powerful, deeply affecting stuff.

David Mach’s Precious Light

The crowds thronging the opening of this year’s Absolut Festival Gallery put paid to the notion that ‘most people don’t visit art galleries’. Simply put, when galleries are easily accessible, beautifully constructed and packed with incredible work as the Absolut Festival Gallery is (and will be through out the festival), people will come in their droves. The centerpiece, David Mach’s Precious Light, invites us to look at how the bible has impacted on our every day lives  and also the entire course of human existence. The Irish Times described Precious Light as ‘epic’, which also applies to the experience of seeing it. Not to be missed.

Artistic Director Paul Fahy with artist David Mach, creator of Precious Light at the Absolut Festival Gallery during its transformation from one time furniture shop to world class gallery.

Christy Moore with Declan Sinnott

After Chic, it was going to take something really special to raise the roof off the Big Top. Thankfully, an Irish man of legendary standing took to the stage on Friday night: the one, the only Christy Moore and what ensued had Twitter alight with praise and joyous outpourings. With support from Four Men and a Dog, Christy played a blinder and the crowd gobbled it up. In the words of a showband man, ‘send them home sweating!’ That’s exactly what the man from Clare did. A triumph.

The Great Goat Bubble

Economics can be hard to grasp. Nevertheless, after the financial turmoil of the past few years, more and more people are attempting to wrap their heads around the complexities of the financial markets. The Great Goat Bubble looks to continue that education in economics and reminds us of the dangerous forces at play when we invest everything we have in the pursuit of unlikely riches. Playwright, novelist and one time Galway resident, Julian Gough comes up with a novel device to explain the intricacies of the market: goats, which you can trade, sell and of course, buy far too much of at exaggerated, unsustainable prices. A cautionary tale if there ever was one, packed with wit and insight, The Great Goat Bubble (playing at the Druid Theatre) was a winner with audiences  and critics this week.

What do goats have to do with our economic collapse? All will be revealed in the Great Goat Bubble by Julian Gough.

We could, as Mrs Doyle might say, go on and on and on – but we won’t. Plenty of time to blow our own trumpet before the festival is out. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has enjoyed the festival so far. We hope you continue to do so. For those of you who haven’t managed to sample the delights, there’s only one question to ask: what are you waiting for? GAF 2012 won’t be around forever! Check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/ and enjoy yourself.

Live at the Róisín Dubh: Fred

When it comes to crafting bright, snappy pop music, Cork band Fred have got it going on as you’ll see on Saturday 21st when they take to the Róisín Dubh stage. If you’ve been near an Irish radio over the past view years, you’ll surely have heard and hummed along to their one of their hits including The Lights, Skyscrapers and Running (all below, for your listening pleasure), taken from their popular 2008 album Go God Go.

In addition to recording (four albums and counting!), Fred have played all over the country from lives sets on TodayFM to the Electric Picnic, Oxegen and Hard Working Class Heroes. They also featured in RTÉ’s the much admired Other Voices series. Critical acclaim for their most recent album Leaving My Empire has been huge, with Hotpress declaring it to be a ‘…new level of brilliance…’ while the Irish Independent described the album as, ‘…sprawling, ambitious and intoxicating…’ Leaving My Empire was recorded with Howard Bilerman, former member of Arcade Fire at his studios in Canada, which is fairly impressive to say the least.

Fans of Fred can look forward to them blowing the roof off the Róisín Dubh this Saturday for what promises to be a great gig. For more info on Fred and for all things festival related, check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

A Moveable Feast: James Vincent McMorrow

The star of Dublin’s James Vincent McMorrow continues to climb and we’re delighted to be welcoming him to this year’s festival Big Top on July 26th. After the critical and commercial success of his debut album Early in the Morning, James has toured the world and played support to the likes of Al Green, Bon Iver and Iron and Wine. Not too shabby for a young fella who used to make his living pushing trolleys around Dublin airport.

James recently featured in the Guardian due to his participation in Bands in Transit, a web series looking at the role of humble transit van in the life of musicians, who use them to traverse the globe. Sure how else could you cart around all that gear? Like other artists featured in the series, including the chart topping Rizzle Kicks and the hotly tipped Ben Howard and Kyla La Grange, James performed in the back of a transit van, which you can watch below for a beautiful rendition of his hit, Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree.

Thanks to GAF and the Róisín Dubh, James plays the festival Big Top along with Lisa Hannigan and Elaine Mai on July 26th. Tickets are flying out the door for what will be an incredible evening so to secure yours, check out http://galwayartsfestival.com/

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